WORLD Night for friendly exchanges in Tokyo celebrates Chinese giant pandas


Night for friendly exchanges in Tokyo celebrates Chinese giant pandas


15:37, March 19, 2023

An event of warm and friendly exchanges featuring giant pandas is hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, on March 17, 2023. (Photos: Xinhua)

TOKYO, March 19 (Xinhua) -- An event of warm and friendly exchanges centered around giant pandas was hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Japan on Friday evening, with the guests sharing love for the cute animal as well as anecdotes about the China-Japan relations.

Attending the big warm party held at a hotel here in Japan's capital city were Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Director of Ueno Zoo Yutaka Fukuda, head of the Panda Protection Institute of Japan Toshimitsu Doi, and more than 230 giant panda fans who have been active on the front line of friendly exchanges between Japan and China.

The panda-themed event came not long after Japanese people waved goodbye to the beloved Japan-born giant panda Xiang Xiang as well as three other pandas returning to China in February.

Before the evening party formally kicked off, a documentary film was released on cooperation between the two countries on giant panda protection and research, which evoked happy memories of the audience about pandas.

"When I was a child, I would stand in a long queue with my family to see giant pandas. It's an experience I will always remember," or "Japan held a writing competition about giant pandas, in which I participated and won a prize" was among people's cited experiences related to pandas.

Yang Yu, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Japan, said when addressing the event that the giant panda is not only a messenger of friendship between China and Japan, but also a symbol of world peace.

"We are ready to work with Japan and other countries in the world to build the Earth all people live on into a truly peaceful home," he added.

In September 2017, Governor Koike announced that the female panda cub born three months earlier at Ueno Zoo was named Xiang Xiang, who soon became a nationwide star and permanently a trending topic on local media.

Children visit an event of warm and friendly exchanges featuring giant pandas in Tokyo, Japan, on March 17, 2023.

In February this year, Xiang Xiang returned to China after living in Japan for five years.

At the party, Ueno Zoo Director Fukuda updated the panda fans on how well Xiang Xiang is doing in China, while Koike said she wishes Xiang Xiang to grow up healthily in China and become a great mother.

In talking to people charmed by the giant panda photos that he has taken for years, photographer and blogger of "Mainichi Panda" Takahiro Takauji said that he is planning to organize a group tour of panda fans to China to visit Xiang Xiang.

"I can feel everyone's deep love for giant pandas," said Ruriko Kojima, a Japanese artist to go to China for studies. "I hope to go to China as early as possible to see them, and to introduce more of the real China to Japanese people."

Araki Tatsuo came to the event wearing a panda mask and a panda tie and carrying a panda doll.

"Through the giant pandas, I can better introduce Chinese culture to everyone and let people feel the charm of China," said the special researcher at the University of Tokyo.

Zhu Jianrong, a professor at Japan's Toyo Gakuen University who has long been active in the friendly exchanges between China and Japan, commented on the event: "When it comes to giant pandas, people have a lot to share."

"We need more such events like this tonight to offer an opportunity for the Japanese people to feel the charm of China and to have a better understanding of China," said Zhu.

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